Blog Post

The Stack of CrowdSourcing

The Stack of CrowdSourcing

What is crowdsourcing? Crowdsourcing is a method by which individuals or organizations use contributions to develop ideas or products. In today’s tech driven society, much of this is done through the use of the internet.


One of my favorite crowdsourcing platforms is stack overflow. I place this site in the category of crowdsourcing because it encourages intellectual engagement in the realm of STEM. For those who are not acquainted with this site, Stack Overflow is the Google of the tech world. It provides solutions to large and small coding problems and creates groups of people who are interested in the same field.


How does a platform like Stack Overflow function? All of the data and posts that are on this site are user published. The only way this platform works properly is by the engagement of its users. Whenever someone has a coding issue, he/she goes onto this site to post about the issue encountered. Sooner or later someone is most likely to post a solution or possibly answer to the issue that was encountered.


With this online community of constantly sharing information with one another and solving shared programming issues, Stack Overflow represents a strong crowdsourced platform. Millions of users have contributed to the data and information on this site and it continues to grow on a day to day basis.


What is a world without crowdsourced information? Without crowdsourcing, many of the apps and programs that we use would never have been developed and there would be less efficiency in the programing sector. When developers encounter a programming solution to a huge problem, posting about it on Stackoverflow saves other developers time and allows them to focus their efforts elsewhere.


This platform has proven to be beneficial for major tech companies and every day developers. Also, through its use people have been able to collaborate and share their programming knowledge allowing large programming projects to turn into actual products and well developed applications.



1 comment

I wouldn't be a computer science major if stack overflow didn't exist, so I'm glad you chose this project! This ties into what Sukie (guest lecturer 1/31) discussed in defining crowd sourcing and why it works. He put projects into terms of three solvents, crowds, computers and experts. When there is a funky bug going on in my code or a tutorial online isn't quite getting the job done, more than likely one or one hundred plus people have had this issue before and I can find a solution, or inspiration to a solution on stack overflow. All the experts in the world are busy or can't handle the vast amount of questions out there, and especially if they are common errors that could be found in a database, why bother them? Computer's are not yet at the point where they can code, and in this scenario are the one's actually posing the issue.

From your experience with Stack Overflow, does the project give any sense of accomplishment or award for contributing? Is that necessary for all crowd sourcing projects?

Do you think a computer reading stack overflow could be trained to read and understand, and eventually be able to contribute? Imagine the computer + expert + crowd combo!